I attended a candle light vigil in D.C. last Thursday for those who've died in Iran's recent protests. There's another one tonight that I plan to attend, which combines a witness to the current crisis with a commemoration of the 10 year anniversary of the Tehran student uprising in 1999, known as "18 Tir," which was also violently repressed.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand all of the complexities of Iran's political system. So I am not rooting for any of the political parties -- I am rooting for the people of Iran. And when I read reports like these, I feel compelled to pray with my feet and take to the streets -- even if it's just to a very safe, easy D.C.-style vigil. It seems like the least I can do, compared to what the people of Iran are facing with amazing courage:
Despite the lack of formal organization and leadership, thousands of people in cities across Iran were determined to march today in unauthorized demonstrations to show their discontent over Ahmadinejad's re-election and to commemorate the 10th anniversary of a violent confrontation between students and security forces.
Tehran Gov. Gen. Morteza Tamaddon said earlier today that any protesters would receive a "crushing" response, and security forces appeared to be responding brutally at times to the attempt at a public demonstration. One witness described how five Basiji militiamen pummeled an elderly lady who loudly warned them that they would receive their comeuppance on Judgment Day.
If you're in the D.C. area, here's the Facebook event link, or find an event in your area to show some solidarity with those beaten and even killed merely for trying to let their voices be heard.
Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the Web Editor for Sojourners and a photojournalist whose images can be seen at www.ryanrodrickbeiler.com.